Driving a car can get a person from point A to point B, but, sadly, some people never reach their destinations. This is because deadly car crashes occur far too often. In fact, reports from two different national organizations show that the number of fatal crashes on America’s roads increased significantly from 2015 to 2016.
According to a report by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), fatal crash rates for the first half of 2016 jumped 10.4 percent as 17,775 people died on U.S. roads in the first half of the year compared to 16,100 fatalities in the first half of 2015. NHTSA notes that the number of miles vehicles traveled increased during this time, which contributes to the rise in traffic deaths.
A report by the National Safety Council (NSC) confirms that there was an increase in motor-vehicle mileage as well as low gas prices, which played a factor in the increase in traffic deaths. According to the NSC’s calculations, over 40,000 motor vehicle fatalities occurred in 2016—a six percent increase in traffic deaths from the prior year and the most reported in a decade. Even though the two organizations use different methods to calculate fatal crash statistics, the overall message is that traffic deaths unfortunately increased in 2016.
Although low prices at the pump do cause people to drive more miles, other factors are often involved in fatal crashes, such as texting a driving, speeding, reckless driving, and drunk driving. While these factors definitely contribute to an increase in deaths, they also result in millions of injuries. In fact, 4.6 million people were seriously injured and needed medical care following crashes in 2016, according to the NSC report.
The NSC report shows that our area of the country had slightly higher death rates than the national average. For instance, on Virginia roads, traffic deaths jumped seven percent from 2014 to 2016. For those in the District of Columbia, traffic deaths climbed eight percent over the same period. This is frightening information and these statistics should be a warning to all motorists to be more vigilant and pay close attention to the task of driving.
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